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Filing Fee

Many of the documents in Civil, Family Law, Probate, and Small Claims require a fee to file them. These are called filing fees.

In addition to filing fees, there may be other fees such as:
  • Certifying and copying
  • Issuance of process
  • Transmittal of papers
  • Sheriff fees to give notice
  • Reporter’s daily fees (for the first 60 days following the granting of a fee waiver)
  • Telephone appearance
  • Clerk’s transcript on appeal
  • Court appointed interpreter fees in Small Claims Court

Court fees and costs may be found on the court’s fee schedule.


If You Cannot Afford to Pay Court Fees

If you are getting public benefits, are a low-income person, or do not have enough income to pay for your household’s basic needs and your court fees, you may ask the court to waive all or part of your court fees.

To ask for a fee waiver:
  1. Carefully read the Information Sheet on Waiver of Superior Court Fees and Costs (FW-001-INFO) to determine if you qualify.
  2. Fill out the Request to Waive Court Fees (FW-001).
  3. Fill out sections 1, 2, and 3, of Order on Court Fee Waiver (FW-003).
  4. File these forms with the court along with the other documents you are filing (example: complaint, petition, answer, etc.).

You may be ordered to go to court to answer questions about your ability to pay court fees and costs and to provide proof of eligibility.


Granting or Denial of Fee Waiver Request

You will receive an Order on Court Fees Waiver (FW-003) telling you if your request was granted (approved) or denied. The Order will explain how to proceed. Act quickly - you only have 10 days from the date the Order is mailed to you to comply with the Order or exercise your options if your request was denied. Failure to act may result in the cancelation of any documents that you submitted.

Requesting Additional Court Fees and Costs Be Waived

There may be additional fees later in the case which you may request be waived if you qualify.

These fees may include one or more of the following:
  • Jury fees and expenses
  • Fees for court-appointed experts
  • Fees for a police officer to testify in court
  • Court appointed interpreter fees for a witness
  • Reporter’s daily fees (beyond the initial 60 day period as noted above)
  • Other necessary court fees
To ask for an additional fee waiver:
  1. Carefully read the Information Sheet on Waiver of Superior Court Fees and Costs (FW-001-INFO) to determine if you qualify.
  2. Fill out the Request to Waive Additional Court Fees (FW-002).
  3. Fill out sections 1, 2, and 3, of Order on Court Fee Waiver (FW-003).
  4. File these forms with the court.

You will receive an Order on Court Fees Waiver (FW-003) telling you if your request was granted (approved) or denied. The Order will explain how to proceed. Act quickly - you only have 10 days from the date the Order is mailed to you to comply with the Order or exercise your options if your request was denied.


Paying Back Filing Fees

Even if your fees are waived at first, you may have to pay them back later:

  • If your finances improve you must tell the court within five days. Fill out the Notice to Court of Improved Financial Situation or Settlement (FW-010) and file it with the court. You may be ordered to repay any amounts that were waived.

  • If you receive a judgment or support order in a family law matter you may be ordered to pay all or part of your waived fees and costs if the court determines that you can afford to pay. You can ask the court for a hearing if the court makes such a decision.

  • If you win your case in most circumstances the other side will be ordered to pay your waived fees and costs to the court. The court will not enter a satisfaction of judgment until the court is paid.

  • If you settle your civil case for $10,000.00 or more any waived fees and costs must first be paid to the court out of the settlement. The court will have a lien on the settlement and may refuse to dismiss the case until the lien is satisfied. A request to dismiss the case must reflect that the waived fees and costs have been paid.

The court can collect fees and costs due to the court. If waived fees and costs are ordered paid to the trial court, the court can start collection proceedings.


How to Get More Information

For help and more information to assist you in understanding the fee waiver process, go to:

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